Hands up if you want the recipe for this Aubergine and Mielie Salad
I’m going to ask you to do something for me in return. Share this post and I’ll send you the recipe. Is that a deal?
Update-: 4hrs after posting
I went away to write up the recipe. I came back and the post has been shared over 70 times. I’m in over my head here so I’m going to add the recipe to this post and I hope everyone gets it. Due to personal privacy settings I’m not able to see everyone’s shares. That was not in my heart when I tongue in my cherub cheeks asked you to share. I just wanted to see if anyone was out there and reading.
Aubergine and Mielie Salad (Ver3)
I made this salad for the first time on 7 June #LockDownDay75. And again on 21June. Both times were made for special people. The first 2 people I knew would absolutely love the flavours. The second 2 people I knew I was taking a big risk, but I ventured forth regardless. The aubergine has got a bad reputation and it’s not something you find in veggie drawers at the bottom of South African fridges. We are a traditionally meat and potatoes and rice culture. So everytime I serve any sort of aubergines I always get a few stifled, but nonetheless raised eyebrows. I’m sure you’ve got a least favorite vegetable in mind from your childhood. I have a few that I refused to bring into my own home as an adult and I also didn’t want our daughter to have bad food memories so I didn’t expose her to my aversion. Regardless she had her own least favorite vegetable or two too. The third attempt at this salad I decided to man it up a bit. By that I mean add a meaty element, and my Darling brother was coming for lunch with Jacs and my little nephews. Somehow I have it in my head that South African men don’t care too much for salad. This little trick worked a charm. You can absolutely leave it out and it doesn’t detract from all the other flavours. When my family left I asked them what don’t the eat from the lunch I served them. They both said we don’t eat aubergine (also known as eggplant and brinjal in other countries) but we’ll eat yours any day. The secret is in the preparation.
Enjoy the salad and let me know what you think. There are so many flavours going on here, simplify if you prefer simple flavours. I love my taste buds to be teased and tantalize and confused. I like to keep them wondering and guessing. When I’m asked “oh what’s in here?” I get excited. “You tell me I say”, and then I sit and watch their faces as they light up when they get it right or crumple in confusion when they don’t. “Can I have the recipe?”, they ask and then I have to desperately try to remember what I put in this version. I’m trying to get better at remembering, by taking photos and writing down frantically on bits of paper whilst at the dinner table. My Darling Brian Kinnear has learnt to indulge me over the years (1986) thank you I love you
Aubergine and Mielie Salad
- 8-10 spinach leaves.
- 3 new celery stalks and leaves
- 5 stalks of flat leaf parsley
- 1 sprig basil about 6 leaves
- 5 sprigs of fresh origanum
- 3 sprigs mint
- ind a nice platter. I prefer platters for salads rather than a bowl as the ingredients are more evenly distributed and you don't have to dig to find the best ingredient. Toss all the green leafy stuff on the patter. It should cover the base. Oven on to 200°C ( if you are smart you'll already be using your oven for something else and these will just cook on a tray). I was baking bread and the oven was hot from that.
- 2 aubergines sliced into discs about 1cm thick. Discard the little green hat. Use the rest Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Squirt olive oil on the paper along with salt and pepper and sumac (optional) now rub the aubergines both sides with the mix. Don't overlap the discs. Bake for 10-12 min and flip the aubergines. If the end ones start to brown TOO MUCH move them into the middle. This is not rocket SCIENCE, people. You've got 6 senses use them ALL. You are looking for a golden brown colour. They will be light and airy. If not keep cooking. We don't want squishy slooshy texture, no one likes that in a salad. Set aside until ready to assemble.
- 1 pkt Spanish Chorizo Slice half cm thick at a diagonal to create an oblong disc. Place in a hot dry griddle pan and fry until golden and crispy. Remove from pan and place on kitchen absorbent paper to rest. There will be a lot of oil rendered, pour this off into a glass jar and save for another day.
- 2 mielies. They come in a pack of 4. Don't be stupid and only cook 2. Cook all 4 and reserve the other 2 for a quick snack tomorrow. Grill these in the chorizo pan, turning them to scorch the griddle marks on them. Should take about 5 mins. (I thought about the name of my salad and very definitely wanted the word mielie in there. It's so South African and I just love it. Corn on the cob just doesn't have the same feeling for me). Slice the mielie kernels off the cob so they stick together. You are not looking for individual kernels you want clumps. 2 small avocados sliced into eighths (only do this when ready to serve. Or brush with lemon juice to stop oxidation (going brown))
- 6 baby marrows sliced at diagonal angle. Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper and 1 crushed garlic clove. Bake in same hot oven with aubergines for 10 min. There's still a crunch to them but that raw slightly bitter taste will turn into a delicious sweetness, naturally brought out when treated the way they should be treated. ( Like me, treat me right and I'm naturally sweet) leave to cool
- SeedsI've used a combination of dry toasted in a pan on the stove seeds. I always have them in my fridge. Pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, pine nuts or any nuts for that matter will work. Choose what you like. They will give an extra crunch and nuttiness that is essential here. Use a small handful
- Sprinkle of pomegranate seeds optional One fresh medjool date finely chopped Zest of lemon
- Dressing. Option 1Olive oil 100ml 1 teaspoon mustard powder 2 Tbls red wine vinegar Squeeze of lemon Salt and pepper Wisk together and drizzle over salad when ready to serve. Don't do this any sooner because you'll have a very limp salad. It's best for your guests to do this themselves.
- Option 22 Tbls tahini use the very best you can find. I've used some terribly bitter, claggy ones and I've used Oh Mega Sesame Tahini and so far this brand is my favorite in East London. If you can get from the Palestinian region you are very fortunate. 6 heaped Tbls double fat Greek yogurt Squeeze of lemon juice 1 tsp Sumac Splash of olive oil Salt and pepper Mix together until ready to serve. ( You can make double -it won't go to waste).
- To assemble Layer all the elements on top of each other when ready to serve. The key to the success of this salad is all the before-your-guests-arrive preparation. Be organized. It looks great when you throw it together and it really does impress people. You make it look easy. Not that that is what I set out to do, but when people think it's easy they'll want to eat this way too. It's health and really unexpectedly tasty. When I eat my own food and I love it, I treat myself like another person cooking for me. I couldn't stop saying to myself and anyone else who would listen how delicious this salad is. It's a definite hit and it has unexpected appeal.